Lack of awareness behind AIDS spread in Nepal, says official

Kathmandu, June 29:

More and more people are contracting HIV/AIDS due to lack of awareness, Dr Rajendra Pant, deputy director, National Centre for AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Disease Control (NCASC) said today.

Speaking at an interaction on ‘Community Outreach on HIV/AIDS: Teachers as agent of change’, Pant said, “If the teachers can disseminate right information to people at the community level, it will be easier to curb HIV/AIDS infection,” he said. “HIV/AIDS is a multi-faceted problem. It should be solved through multi-sectoral approaches,” he said. There are 7.8 million People living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in South East Asia. Africa has the highest number of PLWHA in the world (24.7 million).

India has 57,00,000 PLWHA. Nepal, because of open border with India, can be listed among the vulnerable nations, he added.

According to the NCASC, there were 70,256 PLWHA in Nepal in 2006. In the year 2005, 3,800 PLWHA died. As of May 2007, 9,344 cases of HIV were reported. During the same period, the number of persons infected with AIDS stood at 1,362. Sara Nyagi Nyanti, HIV/AIDS officer at the UNICEF, said, “The UNICEF has come up with strategies on Life Skill Based Education for the students.”

She called on teachers to convey correct message to the students. “Children are the direct beneficiaries of the information disseminated by the teachers on HIV/AIDS and families are the indirect beneficiaries.”

A toolkit — HIV Preventive Education Information Kit for School Teachers — was launched at the end of the programme.